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Summary: A church that experiences joy is a church where the members have made a full surrender to Jesus Christ and are focused on following Him regardless of the circumstances one faces in life.

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A CHURCH THAT EXPERIENCES JOY Acts 16:6-15, Philippians 1:1-2, 4:4

Proposition: A church that experiences joy is a church where the members have made a full surrender to Jesus Christ and are focused on following Him regardless of the circumstances one faces in life.

Objective: My purpose is to challenge people to fully experience the joy that comes when one follows Christ and keeps one’s focus on Him.

INTRODUCTION:

Illus: Did you hear about Fred Johnson, a businessman from Portage, Wisconsin, who went on a business trip to Louisiana. Upon arrival, he plugged his laptop into the hotel room port & sent an e-mail back home to his wife, Jennifer Johnson at her address JennJohn@aol.com. Unfortunately, in his haste, he mistyped a letter & the email went to JeanJohn@aol.com, a Mrs. Jean Johnson of Somerville, New Jersey, the wife of a pastor who had just passed away. The preacher’s wife took one look at the e-mail & fainted. When she was finally revived by her daughter, she nervously pointed to the message, which read: "Arrived safely, but it sure is hot down here." Clarity in communication is vital if we are ever to achieve the desired results. This letter, unlike the mistaken email received by Jean Johnson, was neither a casual correspondence of travel itinerary, nor was it the sad news of an unfortunate destination.

Illus: Do you remember the chorus:

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, Down in my heart,

down in my heart.

I’ve got the love of Jesus, the love of Jesus, Down in my heart...

I’ve got the peace that passes understanding, Down in my heart…

I’ve got the peace that passes understanding, Down in my heart…

I’ve got the wonderful peace of my blessed Redeemer way down in

the depths of my heart…

There is therefore now no condemnation, Down in my heart…

Paul is under house arrest as a prisoner of Rome somewhere between 61 and 63, probably in 62 A.D. He was waiting trial in prison. He wrote four epistles during this time known as Prison Epistles: Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon and of course our present letter being considered of Philippians. Joy is a keynote throughout the letter that this is called “Paul’s hymn of joy.” This is like a window into his soul. Someone said that Paul’s chains sound like “joy bells.”

Paul remembers that this church in Philippi was born out of joy, the joy one can know in trusting the Savior & following closely with Him. Pessimism is not the rule in Philippians despite the threat of difficult circumstances. With Paul, it’s a joy unrelated to circumstances. Paul is on his second missionary journey (Acts 16) when the church was established. At midnight Paul & Silas find themselves all alone in a prison cell. They knew the pain & humiliation of the stocks of the jail. They faced the loss of their life. Yet they rejoiced. They sang praises to God at a time when others would have been cursing & threatening the jailer. That’s joy, that’s not happiness, that’s joy...that’s joy...so deep & so profound that nothing touches it. They knew the joy which is a gift from God to those who believe being produced in them by the Holy Spirit because they were willing to obey God being mixed with trials & they set their hope on future glory. That’s why they knew that joy. A strong church developed there even though Paul had to leave the city.


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